Elections Canada is launching a $650,000 campaign that will enlist 13 “influencers,” including YouTubers, social media stars and a gamer, to help get out the youth vote in this fall’s federal election.
The campaign, first reported by the Globe and Mail, is designed to engage with young people and “especially first time voters,” an Elections Canada spokesperson told CTV News.
Historically, young people are the least likely to vote in federal elections. In 2015, 57 per cent of eligible voters aged 18 to 24 voted – a significant 18 per cent jump from 2011, but still the lowest of all age groups. By comparison, 78 per cent of eligible voters between 65 and 74 cast ballots.
Elections Canada hopes the targeted campaign will boost turnout.
“Despite the increase in youth turnout in 2015, young people continue to vote at significantly lower rates than older electors,” an Elections Canada spokesperson said in a statement.
“Elections Canada’s research shows that young people, especially first-time voters, face significant barriers to participating in federal elections.”
The 13 influencers have not yet been named, but Elections Canada hinted that they include Canadian Olympians, television personalities, singer-songwriters, YouTubers, and a gamer.
As an independent agency, Elections Canada has taken steps to ensure that the influencers aren’t sharing partisan views. A series of rules are in place that prohibit the influencers from being involved in a political campaign or “be linked to people or issues of any political party for the duration of the campaign.”
Additionally, the influencers cannot be associated with a party until one year after the campaign ends.
The total budget for the campaign is $650,000.